Monday, 17 June 2019


The summer has, so far, been cloud-covered and unsettled.  We get what can only be described as 'a lot of weather'.  

For taking photos it can be an advantage if you can catch the moment when the clouds part or you manage to catch the last of the light at the end of the day.

This photo was taken at exactly 10 pm last night June 15th.  I am posting it as a reminder of (a) what not to do and (b) the 'moment'.

Having worked most of the rather dull and wet Sunday on images on the computer I closed down and walked through to close the bedroom curtains of the above window looking out to the garden (south)   The quality of the evening light caught my eye and took a photo from inside (that's what you do not want to do .... must remember that) .  Unfortunately the photo does not show the 'moment' that I caught, namely, seconds later the light had gone... and so had the unknown cat that walked into my picture.  What I was pleased about was that I recognised the light for what it was, i.e. the golden time just before the sunlight goes.  If I had known that initially I would have walked outside ... but by then, of course, I would have missed it.

Next morning at 9 am.  The sun made a brief appearance on the lawn (and was gone... again... for the rest of the day.)   

10 am, just for the record. 


Lupins, poppies and irises

A view in the opposite direction

Thursday, 6 June 2019


Iain is enjoying some quality sailing time with John MacLeod this week.  They are headed for the splendid isolation of the Western Isles.
Me!... this is my idea of Quality Sailing!

This is the Queen Victoria cruise ship built by Cunard departing from her berth in Greenock this evening.  You only need to chat to the folk watching to realize how much they relate to these ships and their movement on the (Clyde) river.

Some extra photos simply because it was a beautiful day!

Friday, 24 May 2019


A very old friend of ours, Moira Cousins, died May 13th and her funeral was this week.  She was the wife of Sandy Cousins, who Iain first met through being a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club.

While the service was held in St Modan's Church, Benderloch, the interment was held at Achnaba Cemetery which in on the shore of Loch Etive.

Iain was asked by the family (Elid and John Ormiston - sons: Saul, Seoras and Kyle) to play the pipes. 

While awaiting everyone arriving from the church service Iain is getting his pipes warmed up outside the Achnaba Church (closed these days). This church has a most interesting interior highlighting the Presbyterian idea of how the interior should be laid out: a large rectangular communion table with benches on either side facing you as you enter the main (blue) front door.  Pews are left  and right and are at right angles facing the front.  Why do I know all this?

It was 12 years ago Iain played for the funeral service held inside this church for Moira's son, Alasdair, who died aged 40 years old (of natural causes).  Iain and I  situated ourselves at that communion table next to the door as he was the last in (having played outside for the congregation to file in) ... and would be first out to head the procession to the cemetery located on the hill behind the church.

And this is it. Again Iain went on ahead leading the procession up to the open grave for a short service ... next to Alastair's grave.

Above is a video of Iain playing... it may or may not show.

Lastly here is a photo of the church looking from the graveyard, out to Loch Etive.  I put my iPhone on the stone wall surrounding the cemetery.  If it makes the photo a bit grim... well that's what is was like! 
I could not help recalling that Alasdair died at almost the exactly the same date as Moira. His funeral was May 22, 2012. I also recall that he died either the evening or the day of his 40th birthday.   

I found a post I wrote (7 years ago!)  here.

Friday, 10 May 2019


Another year, another birthday.  Life rolls along much the same. Both Iain and I enjoy good health for our years.  We never take that for granted as increasingly people our age start to show signs of wear and tear, so to speak.

Having spent quite a bit of time at the computer this past week (finishing off a brochure for the Milngavie Music Club) I decided to down tools and have the day off.  In the early morning I had sent (over the internet) all the image and text files to the printer but apparently it did not arrive in their Inbox.... don't know why.  (I am still on that learning curve but don't usually have a problem.) Rather than struggle with a 'workaround' (I am getting good at this...) I decided to simply jump on the train and pay a visit to their office in the centre of Glasgow.

It has been ages since I was in town and, as always, I enjoy being among all the good Glasgow folk going about their daily lives.  Today was just typical!

[1] I am often asked directions, usually when I a waiting to cross at the lights.  If I am going in the same direction I simply walk along with the person(s) and then point out their route.  Today was no different: an elderly lady, half my height, asked me directions and as we were going the same way, we fell into conversation.  She was from Dublin and looking for a city centre shop.  As we parted it was a case of me saying "Cheerio" (a very Glasgow departing expression which I picked up years ago) and she responded with "Goodbye and God Bless".  So very Irish; so very nice!

[2] In the printer's office I gave my memory stick of files to the young lassie (maybe about 21 years old) who confirmed that everything was there.  Job done.

We chatted a bit about us both being Mac computer users and I mentioned that I had been doing this sort of desktop publishing work for quite a few years (to be exact it is 30 years!).  I said that I used to make a habit of delivering the files in person because I would know for sure that they got the material (i.e. it nailed a recurring problem in the pre-Internet days of  "It hasnay come" or "We didnay get it." [when I sent the disk in the post].

I explained to her that what I was delivering was either a floppy disk or its successor, a 3 1/2 inch hard disk for A drive. I then became aware of a blank look on her face.... "Uh-h-h... do you know what I am talking about?"   Answer: "No!" 

So does reaching the ripe of age of 75 years make me feel old?  Well, no... not really, but talking to these youngsters about floppy disks certainly did!

Monday, 6 May 2019


We celebrated Iain's 80th Birthday at the weekend.  Here are some photos!

Thursday, 18 April 2019


Having read Treasure Island recently (as Alastair was reading it at the time) I decided to have a go at Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Yes, I did enjoy it more mainly because I knew the setting and the history of this adventure story set in the Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh area.

Alan Breck (left) and David Balfour statue by Jamie Stoddart

There was a short section in the book that struck a chord with me.  David Balfour, the hero, comes upon a man, a lawyer, Mr Randkeillor who can help him find his uncle so that he can claim his rightful inheritance.

He tells his story to this man who is not sure he can believe him.  David wants to be sure he is talking "to a friend", i.e. someone he can trust.   Mr Randkeillor says that he cannot be convinced "until I have heard you" (and he notes that they are 'arguing in a circle').  "I cannot be your friend until I am properly informed. If you were more trustful, it would better befit your time of life.  And you know, Mr Balfour, we have a proverb in the country [Scotland] that evil doers are aye evil-dreaders."

In other words those who are up to no good always have to watch their back, dreading what could be done to them!

I see from googling that Sir Walter Scott uses this phrase in The Fair Maid of Perth II. v. "Put me not to quote the old saw, that evil doers are evil dreaders.—It is your suspicion, not your knowledge, which speaks."

Monday, 8 April 2019


I want to keep a note of two books I plan to read once they become available in the library  I took the reviews are from the Goodreads website having read about them in the Times Literary Supplement newspaper in the last couple of weeks.

Darkness: A Cultural History by Nina Edwards

Darkness divides and enlivens opinion. Some are afraid of the dark, or at least prefer to avoid it, and there are many who dislike what it appears to stand for. Others are drawn to this strange domain, delighting in its uncertainties, lured by all the associations of folklore and legend, by the call of the mysterious and of the unknown. The history of our attitudes toward darkness—toward what we cannot quite make out, in all its physical and metaphorical manifestations—challenges the very notion of a world that we can fully comprehend.

In this book, Nina Edwards explores darkness as both a physical feature and cultural image, through themes of sight, blindness, consciousness, dreams, fear of the dark, night blindness, and the in-between states of dusk or fog, twilight and dawn, those points or periods of obscuration and clarification. Taking us across the ages, from the dungeons of Gothic novels to the concrete bunkers of Nordic Noir TV shows, Edwards interrogates the full sweep of humanity’s attempts to harness and suppress the dark first through our ability to control fire and, later, illuminate the world with electricity. She explores how the idea of darkness pervades art, literature, religion, and our everyday language. Ultimately, Edwards reveals how darkness, whether a shifting concept or palpable physical presence, has fed our imaginations.

[TLS]  Before science solved the puzzle of the Moon's disappearance during a solar eclipse, the "removal" of light was assumed to be supernatural.  The Vikings believed wolves had devoured the moon....

 Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.